by Eric A. Thomas
People nationwide have altered their day-to-day lives to help in the fight against COVID-19. We hear stories every day of companies and businesses adjusting their operations to meet a need. One local business has stepped up.
Times Square Sewing Complex, located at 63 E. Central Park Plaza, was contacted by Passavant Hospital on March 19 to help provide much-needed face masks; one of the weapons in fighting this pandemic. Seeing the shortage on the news, owner Sue Fox decided they had to do what they could.
“We have a couple dozen volunteers sewing and a few non-sewing volunteers helping too,” stated Fox “Sewers are donating their materials, time and talent to make the masks.” Each mask takes 15-20 minutes per mask to stitch. People who don’t sew have been involved in different steps in creating the masks which has saved time for the sewers to produce. When Times Square Sewing announced a need, it was met quickly. When they asked local businesses, they have come through with needed supplies or financial support. Dot Foods donated cases of t-shirts to be used for the mask material and Monqui Suds Laundromat provided laundry service to wash the shirts.
Passavant Area Hospital (PAH) is using the masks presently for non-medical staff and other immediate patient needs. In addition to PAH, masks have been provided to home health care workers, nursing homes, Elm City, Pathway, the Food Center, restaurants and other businesses. Over 6,000 masks have been distributed so far. With the mask requirement expanding to include the general public after May 1, production has been increased.
Phil McCarty, Director of Emergency Management, has been involved in the distribution of the masks. He has been delivering the washable masks to Aldi, County Market and Dunlap Court Beverages. “Please do not call these businesses to check availability. They will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis,” added Fox. “We are getting them there as quickly as possible.”
In addition to making the masks, Time Square Sewing has been putting together sewing kits for people to make their own masks. One of the volunteers has cut the fabric and prepared thousands of kits. “I have left mask pattern instructions in a clear sleeve on the front door of the store and I am amazed that over 200 of these instructions have been picked up,” reported Fox.
Despite being closed to the public for business as usual for six weeks, Times Square Sewing is allowing curbside service to pick up orders and appointments to select a new sewing machine or to have service on a machine. Creating these masks has kept Fox and her husband Roger in the store daily.
Times Square Sewing Complex has been serving the Jacksonville area for 35 years. They teach quilting and other sewing skills classes as well as selling and servicing machines and other sewing supplies. They offer monthly classes on how to design embroidery designs for the home embroidery machines. They were the first sewing shop in the area to host sewing retreats to teach customers computer skills to use along with their sewing machines. “Our store has been awarded many honors over the 35 years,” concluded Fox. “When this pandemic is over and we resume regular operations, we hope the public will stop in and meet us. We would love to teach you to sew.”
Times Square Sewing can be reached at 217-245-5445, through Facebook at Times Square Sewing Complex – Jacksonville, Illinois, or on the web at www.timessquaresewing.com.